Today I’m blogging over at the Star-Dusted Sirens with Crit Confusion
Lately life seems to be happening faster than I can blog about it, which is in many ways a good thing. It’s also probably what Twitter was created for, but unfortunately, Twitter and I don’t quite get each other. We’re like co-workers who can get along perfectly well in the workplace, but in social situations we just sort of stare awkwardly at each other and make lame comments about the weather.
Anyway, the things! I must blog them!
Thing #1) If you haven’t read “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies because you prefer to have someone else read your fiction for you, you’re in luck! The story is now available as a shiny podcast, where it receives a wonderful narration by Tina Connolly. So if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted tale about death, go forth and listen!
Thing #2) Daily Science Fiction has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Among the rewards being offered are short story critiques by DSF authors like myself and many other awesome people. So if you’re a writer, you have a chance to both support an awesome publication and get feedback from one of the authors they’ve published. If you’re not a writer, there are other rewards available, so check it out! Because DSF? Totally worth it, if you ask me.
Thing #3) If you’re reading this post on my website and not Livejournal (and really, are there more than like five of us even left on LJ at this point?), you may have noticed that things look a bit different. I didn’t plan to spend my entire weekend redesigning my website, but I did. Was I procrastinating? Yes. Should I have been writing instead? Yes. Do I regret it? No, because the whole process inadvertently led to me to The Copenhagen Chansonnier, a medieval music manuscript with awesomely whimsical drawings of things like the lady conversing with a snail dude in my website header. You’re welcome.
Thing #4) Somewhere in all of the craziness that is my schedule, fiction has been accomplished! I’ve finally gotten around to revising some flash pieces that I wrote back in January, right before my spring semester from hell devoured all of my writing time. One of those flash pieces has already sold, one is making the submission rounds, one needs just a bit more tweaking before I send it out, and the fourth one is no longer a flash story—it got expanded into a 3,400-word horror story and has just started wandering around Submission Land looking for work. And it has creepy puppets. With nasty defecation habits. Once again, you’re welcome.
*taps the blog mic*
Is this thing on?
So, yeah, I’ve been rubbish about posting lately. Life has been consumed by a big busy combo of workshopping craziness, vacationing, trying to finish things up at Ye Olde Day Job before my last day (two more weeks!), and preparing for that whole wacky grad school thing I’ll be starting in September. There has been precious little time for writing, which makes me cranky.
As for the aforementioned workshopping craziness, that would be TNEO (aka The Never-Ending Odyssey), which I attended last month, and it was all manner of awesome. Awesome people, awesome feedback, and awesome moments of writing-related light bulbs going off. Like three-act structure. For some reason, I always had the hardest time getting a firm grasp on three-act structure, but this time it finally clicked and I could finally see where I had (unknowingly) used it in some of my stuff.
I had two short stories and a novel chapter critiqued at TNEO this year, and I’m totally stoked to get the revision work underway on them. It’s easy to walk out of critique sessions overwhelmed by feedback overload, especially when you get conflicting opinions. But this year, there was so much consensus as to what was and wasn’t working in my submissions and so much helpful brainstorming that I feel like I know exactly what I need to do and won’t be bogged down trying to sort through conflicting reactions.
One really helpful session we did at TNEO was a plot breakout technique. Each person presented a plot they wanted help with, after which we would do about a half an hour’s worth of brainstorming that involved lots of adding and rearranging and deleting of various plot elements, done with index cards on a board. I was looking for ways to strengthen Act 2 (now that I know where Act 2 is!) of one of the major plot threads in My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel and got lots of great ideas, including more characters to kill (always a plus in my book). My collection of index cards ended up looking like this:
That big mess o’ cards down the middle would be Act 2, with Act 1 to the left and Act 3 to the right.
Now if only life would settle the hell down and let me get in some more writing time, I could make better use of all that crazy awesome brainstorming!
A month and a half after I started the damn thing, and the de-crapified second draft of my novel-prequel-ish short story (now titled Demon Dreams) is finally done. The wee beastie beefed up to 6,700 words in the second draft. That’s what a hearty diet of more detail and description will do for one’s fictional figure. Now I just need to give the beastie a final go over, and then it’s into the critiquing pile while I start something else.
I’ll be doing The Never-Ending Odyssey (aka TNEO) again this summer, so it’s that weird time of year where I have to wait several months after finishing a story to get critiques on it. (Well, I’ll probably throw the story at my lovely local group, the Awesome Ladies of Awesomeness, for our next meeting, but I’ll wait until I have the TNEO crits as well before making any major revisions.) Being forced to wait is probably a good thing for me. Even though I take forever to write stories sometimes (or maybe because I take forever to write them), I tend toward impatience, wanting to get them out the door in speedy fashion as soon as they’re done. So it’s probably healthy for me to have to sit on a few of them for a spell and see how they age.
And speaking of TNEO, I get to take on the roll of moderator this year, which I’m sure will keep me super busy on top of all the critiquing and writing to be done for it. But I’m looking forward to it.